There are plenty of ways “Avengers: Endgame” could, you know, end.
After the catastrophic events of “Avengers: Infinity War,” the events of this superhero crossover blockbuster are a complete mystery.
There are something like 14,000,605 possible outcomes. (At least, that’s what Dr. Strange said.)
But only one will come true.
Heads are teeming with possibilities before the fourth Avengers film (and the 22nd total in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) debuts in theaters this week.
We scoured the Internet, a dark and dangerous place much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and racked our brains to find the best, wildest possibilities.
Mull them over before you plop down with some popcorn for the biggest superhero film of all time.
And it should go without saying: There are spoilers ahead for “Infinity War” and every previous Marvel movie. Plus, of course, possible spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame” also lie ahead.
But first, a recap on the previous Marvel movies ...
Over multiple movies, super-powered individuals such as Iron Man and Hulk begin to pop up all over the place. Eventually, at the behest of secret government agency S.H.I.E.L.D., the heroes Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America form the Avengers. They came together to fight Loki, Thor’s brother, who came to hold two Infinity Stones, six crystals that control an essential aspect of existence.
In addition to having their own independent adventures, the Avengers came back together to fight the artificial intelligence Ultron (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”) and to fight each other (“Captain America: Civil War”). The six stones were discovered throughout the films: the Space Stone (“Captain America: The First Avenger”), the Reality Stone (“Thor: The Dark World”), the Power Stone (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), the Mind Stone (“Avengers”), the Time Stone (“Dr. Strange”) and the Soul Stone (“Avengers: Infinity War”).
Behind the discovery of all the stones was Thanos, a tyrannical purple alien who seeks to gather all the stones and destroy half of all life in the universe to make things better for the half that survives. In “Infinity War,” he succeeds, turning half of everyone into dust with a snap of his fingers. That included the Avengers. Heroes such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, Wasp and Star-Lord turn to dust, while the original six Avengers survive alongside War Machine, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Nebula, Valkyrie and others.
And now for some possible endings ...
Someone important dies
The original six Avengers survived “the snap.” But will they make it out of “Endgame”? At least one character death seems extremely likely, given some real-world reasons: contracts. The actors signed multiple-movie deals, and some of them are over. Chris Evans has been vocal about being done playing Captain America, and he might not be the only one making a final appearance in a Marvel film. Robert Downey Jr. has been the series’ longest-tenured actor, and he may want to move on as well.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: It’s happening. The contract issues plus the weight of a major character death means we’ll probably see at least one if not more of the original Avengers go down for good. Which gets us to ...
Captain America sacrifices himself
This is a little more specific than the previous entry. Remember back in “Infinity War” when Thanos had to sacrifice something to gain control of the Soul Stone, and he killed his daughter Gamora? The idea here is that Captain America will make a similar sacrifice to regain control of one or more stones by putting himself in harm’s way. There’s also a similar theory tied to this one: Iron Man pushes Cap out of the way at the last second and takes the bullet (or cosmic energy or whatever), thus making for a bigger, more meaningful death.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: Pretty good. It seems like a perfectly emotional way for one of these characters to go out.
Six Infinity Stones vs. Six superheroes
There’s a theory from Inverse.com that six characters imbued with the powers of various stones are enough to combat the stones themselves. Essentially, their powers combined are enough to take on Thanos. Scarlet Witch (Mind Stone), Star-Lord (Power Stone), Jane Foster (Reality Stone), Doctor Strange (Time Stone), Gamora (Soul Stone) and Captain Marvel (Space Stone) will come together to defeat the purple one.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: No way. Half of those characters turned to dust in “Infinity War.” Others, such as Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, haven’t been seen in awhile. This is too wacky to be true.
Soul Stone prison break
Everyone that was “snapped” out of existence didn’t simply die. They’re actually trapped inside the Soul Stone. But how do they get out? They stage something of a prison break, busting out of the stone just in time to lend assistance to the rest of the Avengers to end Thanos.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: A good chance. At the end of “Infinity War,” we saw a scene of young Gamora that appears to take place inside the orange glow of the Soul Stone. It stands to reason that the rest of the dusted heroes might also be trapped in there.
We’ve already seen time travel in the MCU. The Time Stone’s power allowed Dr. Strange and Thanos to turn back time, and Ant-Man’s adventures into the Quantum Realm involved time vortexes. So the theory goes like this: Unable to defeat Thanos directly, the Avengers use some combination of the Time Stone or Quantum Realm shenanigans to send one or more Avengers back in time to change events and avoid their eventual fate.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: Probably. In the “Infinity War” trailers, we’ve seen Ant-Man arrive coming back from the Quantum Realm and the entire team don these fancy white matching suits.
Captain Marvel turns the tide
At the end of “Infinity War,” a message is sent to Captain Marvel. Is she the force that was needed to set things straight? As we saw in her titular movie, she gained her powers from the Tesseract (which, it turned out, was an Infinity Stone). And those who gained their powers from the stones (like the Scarlet Witch) seem to have some immunity to the stones’ powers. So maybe she shows up and takes on Thanos in a way no one else can.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: Extremely likely. Otherwise, why would it be a big deal that she arrives to join the Avengers?
There’s a parallel reality
When Thanos delivered the snap, he didn’t destroy half the universe. He created a parallel reality where the one half was sent. This could go a couple of different ways. The first is that somehow, the heroes manage to pull both worlds back together. The second, perhaps zanier idea is that the original Avengers sacrifice their world so that the other can survive.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: Eh, maybe. This only holds weight because the surviving universe would contain some of the cinematic universe’s newer heroes. The old Avengers might not last much longer anyway because of contracts and the desire of actors to move on.
Nebula steals the Infinity Gauntlet
So, this is how it goes down in the comics. Thanos becomes an immortal part of the universe, but his body back on the mortal plane is still hanging out and wearing the glove. Nebula arrives, takes it and becomes all-powerful herself.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: No way. The original comic story had a lot of goofy comic-booky stuff that just wouldn’t work in the movies. This is one of them.
Loki isn’t actually dead
We saw him die in “Infinity War,” right? Before the snap? And his dead body fell to the floor? Yes to all of that. But there are some compelling theories — including that he stabbed Thanos with his left hand, not his right, because it was a projection — that he didn’t actually die. He is the trickster god, after all. So Loki, who has experience wielding Infinity Stones, reappears and uses the stones to defeat Thanos.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: Loki almost surely comes back. There is reportedly a Loki TV series coming. But smart money would go on Loki not being dead. (He’s already died in past movies, and he’s already come back.)
The X-Men or the Fantastic Four save the day
After its acquisition of Fox, Disney now owns the rights to the whole Marvel stable. So will Marvel’s band of merry mutants or Marvel’s first family arrive to save the day? The idea behind this theory: The X-Men exist in an alternate dimension, and Infinity Stone shenanigans bring all the Marvel properties back together.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: No way. It’s too goofy, plus the logistics of bringing in even more characters is baffling.
Ant-Man and Thanos’, uh, exploding orifice
Yeah, this is a thing. Ant-Man can shrink down to subatomic size, right? So he could, in theory, enter Thanos’ large purple body through — how do we put this? — his butt. Once inside, Ant-Man would grow to giant size, thus ending the Mad Titan’s reign in a fury of tearing purple flesh and blood. “I think I know the theory you’re talking about,” Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd said on “The Graham Norton Show.” “But why not the ear or the nose?”
Odds we’ll see it in the movie: Not at all. But that doesn’t make it any less amusing.
The Avengers beat Thanos right away
From the trailers for “Endgame,” we know the Avengers take the fight to Thanos. We assume they’re defeated (again) and must spend the rest of the movie finding another way around Thanos and the Infinity Stones. But what if they win? If so, they’d have a hard time reversing the snap, and must find a way to do that and deal with a very angry Thanos.
Odds we’ll see this in the movie: This seems like it might be a winner. The Avengers get the stones, but they can’t wield them like the powerful Thanos. So they still have to go back in time via the Quantum Realm or using the Time Stone. It could involve a multitude of the theories mentioned above, but it’s just crazy enough that it seems like it’s true.
13 of the most expensive movies of all time
By Micah Mertes / World-Herald staff writer
Movies are expensive — especially movies in which people fly or cities are destroyed or Johnny Depp is a pirate.
"Avengers: Infinity War," in theaters this week, is actually the second-most-expensive movie ever made, coming in at an eye-popping $300 million. And that's just its production budget (marketing adds another $150 million to the price tag).
With $$$ on our minds mind, we looked into the other biggest and budget-est movies of the modern era. These are the most expensive movies ever made, followed by some of the most expensive movie series ever made back-to-back.
Note: Numbers are unadjusted for inflation.
Note 2: A lot of movies are ties.
Sources: The Numbers, Box Office Mojo